I finally bought a foam roller today. I have been trying to get back into exercising regularly to pull me out of my mental funk from being jobless. And OMG, my freaking quads are so sore!! My quads are always the first to get sore and tend to be the most tender after working out for the first time in a while, or from just being sporadic with my fitness routine. I have never used a foam roller before, and decided to buy one when I was at the Target after waddling up and down the aisles and thinking I’d finally had enough of being a slave to DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). You know, the kind that’s so bad you have to use the handicap rail just to use the bathroom? Yeah.
So, I tried it when I got home and literally almost cried. I used my whole body weight and essentially was in a plank position rolling forward so the roller went down the front of my thighs to my knees, and back up again. FYI, this method hurts. I then changed my stance and supported myself on one knee and did just one leg at a time. That was MUCH better, but still a little painful. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I honestly didn’t expect it to hurt that much. I’ve been sore for a couple of days though, so if I had done this right after my workouts perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad. But I sucked it up, and did a few more short rolls on my quads, and afterwards I DO feel less pain! The spots I rolled actually loosened up quite a bit. And that will help a lot because we are going hiking tomorrow (Friday) in western North Carolina, and kayaking Saturday, followed my more hiking Sunday. And maybe more hiking Monday 😉. Definitely some exploring, if not hiking.
I basically knew nothing about foam rolling and, much like all things in health and fitness, technique is VERY important to reduce the chances of injury or exacerbating existing inflammation or any other issues you may have. So I Googled some helpful articles and I thought I’d share them below for others who might be curious. Check out these two from Runner’s World and Daily Burn that have some good tips for first time foam rollers. And even if you’ve done it in the past or use one regularly, it can’t hurt to do a little research to make sure you’re not doing something really wrong (like rolling your lower back, which is a big no no!).
Do any of you guys out there use foam rollers? If so, what has been your experience. Yay or nay? If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend it!
Hey out there! I was reading in my ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Trainer Manual about mobility and stability training, and this popped up with some very interesting facts about the potential extra benefits of foam rolling. It is still a newer concept in the fitness world that requires more research, but the studies that have been done show some positive benefits in the populations that were tested. I’ll summarize, but the full outtake from my training manual is shown in a photo below as well, which includes the study citations if anyone wants to read them.
- Foam rolling has been shown to reduce arterial stiffness, improve arterial function, and improve vascular endothelial (lining of the blood vessels) functions in sedentary subjects.
- While traditional stretching methods increase range of motion, they have been shown in studies to simultaneously lead to force reduction, or weakness, in the area stretched. It’s a give and take… BUT, foam rolling has been shown to increase joint range of motion without reducing force (causing weakness) or rate of force development in the population studied, which was young adult males.
More studies clearly need to be done in more varied populations, but so far there have been some clear benefits to adding foam rolling in your everyday fitness routine for general heath and range of motion.